Best weight for slaughter?

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by farmergirl, Sep 16, 2006.

  1. farmergirl

    farmergirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have 2 barrows that I'm feeding out. One is already around 150# and the other is around 125#. I'm considering taking the larger one in for processing in ten days or so. Is 150# a reasonable slaughter weight, or should I wait a bit longer? The second one we plan to feed for another 3 mos, hoping to get some good bacon off him.
     
  2. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    It really depends on how much meat you use, and what size you want him. The most efficient slaughter size is 240-260 pounds. There's no reason you can't slaughter him now if you want to, but you'll have a higher percentage of useable meat if you let him gain another 100 pounds or so.
     

  3. theporkstork

    theporkstork Well-Known Member

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    Commercially, market hogs are sent to slaughter in the weight range of 250-270 lbs. This gives the optimal size retail cuts with medium fat cover. If you were to send in your 150 lb. barrow, your chops would probably be much smaller than you're used to, therefore you would tend to cook more than the nomal amount to get the same number of ounces per serving. Also, the hams would be smaller, less sausage, etc. Pigs normally will reach market weight when they're 6-8 months old if given the optimal amount of protein,(14%), for efficient growth, plenty of fresh water, and there are no health issues,(internal parasites, respiratory infections, etc.), to cause stress or rob their protein absorbtion. Another factor to keep in mind is the butcher's kill price is the same no matter what the live weight, but usually the processing is priced according to the carcass hang weight. I hope this info helps!
     
  4. farmergirl

    farmergirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    So, would you guys slaughter at this weight or not? Would help us cut the feed costs down a bit to just be fattening one, plus we'd have some meat to use through the fall and into winter. What can I expect the yield in pounds of cut meat to be if the live weight is around 150#?
     
  5. txtruelady

    txtruelady Active Member

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    Well like the others said not much meat. Most of the meat would be sausage meat.. Chops would be about the size of your palm ,roast would be 2 maybe 2 1/2 lbs... So the total weight of the processed meat would be about 80 to 90 lbs....Sooooooo i'ts what you want that counts....Me ...I would wait aleast 200 225...
     
  6. busybee870

    busybee870 Well-Known Member

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    I Was Told You Get About 2/3 Of The Weight In Meat And Lard
     
  7. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    At 150# you're only looking at another 4-6 weeks with good feed to have him at 250.
     
  8. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

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    Hi,

    First time pig owner here. One boy one girl born the beginning of June.

    I am GUESSING mine are about the size yours are right now. From what I have been told, pigs are not very efficient feed converters until just past the 100 lb mark. Essentially, what I am saying is it takes comparatively longer to get to 100 lbs than it does to 200 lbs and up.

    So, with that in mind, my husband claims the pigs look much larger every week (I see the pigs every day-he doesn't venture to the barn but once a week) and his opinion was the pigs we saw when we picked up the piglets were just slightly longer and taller than mine now (at 150 lbs) but were MUCH rounder. The Round-ness is where you get the meat!

    I have a processing date of November 8th. I am hoping by that time I will have bacon and good quality ribs. I supplement our pig feed (formulated to 16% protein) with overripe produce, wormy apples, excess eggs and some table scraps. All those are free-just ask farm stands for the overripe produce! And it helps the feed bill a LOT!
    When it really gets cold, and it will here in a few weeks, I will add just a 1/2 cup of corn oil to the grain mix once a day to keep energy up.

    I think you will be glad if you let them grow out a bit longer.
     
  9. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    New to pigs here, so my I don't know how much my advice is worth.. but... I would wait. Yes, you'll cut feed costs some, but you'll be sacrificing at least half the meat you would get from the pig if you want another few months. Also, your pig that is left will be lonely, and I think they do better with other pigs.
     
  10. Firefly

    Firefly Well-Known Member

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    I just sent a 375 lb pig to the slaughterhouse. It took hiim so long to get to 150 that I never dreamed it would be only a month more to get to 250! Seeing him all the time, I didn't realize how big he was getting. Now I will have chops so big that a 1" thick will probably weigh a pound. The smokehouse guy says he may not let me put his USDA label on the bacon because it will probably be too fatty to have his good name on it! If it's not USDA I won't be able to sell it, nor will it be vacuum packed. Regular packaging only lasts ~6 months, and trust me I can't eat 100 lbs of bacon in 6 months no matter how tasty it is! And the pig I kept is very lonely. SOOO, my advice is to get them both done in about a month.
     
  11. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

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    We've always slaughtered ours near the 250 weight.
    Early on I once let one go to about 340 and that was a big mistake. They are way to fatty. Lots of trim loss and lots of fat on all the cuts. Bacon was all fat and very little meat.

    150 is too small. You just won't get enough yield to make it worth while. I'd wait and would think that you will be much happier.
     
  12. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    The best time to slaughter a pig is when you are ready to eat it. Seriously.

    Commercially pigs are generally grown to 225 lbs or so because now a days people want smaller hams and at about that size the rate of conversion of feed to meat starts to decrease.

    For home slaughter, it is just as easy to slaughter a 300 or 400 lb pig as it is to do a 225 lb pig. If you are having someone else do it they usually charge the same rate for either. Thus you might as well go for a larger weight, especially if you are pasturing the pigs which means your feed costs are not as critical.

    I like doing slaughter for oruselves in the cool of the fall best of all. There are no flies and the weather is right for hanging meat without a refrigerator. As you get into late fall and winter pasture gets low so that fits as well.

    Additionally, a great way to keep meat fresh is to keep it on the hoof. Once you slaughter and freeze or can the meat the quality starts to degrade. Putting off slaughter not only lets the animal get larger but means that the meat is fresher when you really need it.

    The last thought is that realize not all female pigs are fertile. In the industry about 75% are fertile. So what you might want to do is breed your two pigs and then if one does not 'take', that is to say get pregnant, slaughter and eat her. Hopefully the other will produce piglets for next year's meat.

    On the down side, some breeds of animals, especially if they are grain fed, will start putting on more fat than meat at some age. You probably want to slaughter before that. With pigs on grain it is around 300 lbs that this tipping point is reached. On pasture I don't see this happen - even our 700 to 800 lb sows are in excellent condition and the boars never get fat unlike confined hogs.

    Short answer: when you need the meat or lack the feed it is time to slaughter. Typical slaughter weight is about 225 lbs which is generally about six months of age or about 45 inches (Girth & Length each).
     
  13. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Congratulations and note that the meat may no be too fatty. Depends a lot on the lifestyle and feed but our pigs never end up fat and they're from the same line. Enjoy the good eating!
     
  14. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I do not intend to be digusting BUT...

    Look into your animal classified and look for old "spent" chickens....so long as they are healthy and "free" you can feed one/two a day to pigs or throw them into your own soup pot until piggies are good-sized...you can free range the chickens and catch them on the roost at night...

    Our pigs got a few broilers that were falling over the edge and LOVED them!

    How big is a pig to get fatback(salt pork) for baking beans? I was tolf it comes from "older, bigger" pigs....we use about 20# a year but I think I may be substituting bacon if our pigs are not big enough....born May1 going to butcher Dec2...about 200# right now.
     
  15. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    240 lbs. Above that and the feed to gain ratio gets out of control. People seldom realize that the cheapest gains are had when the pigs are small. A 50 lb pig will gain 1 lb. off of 2.2 lbs. of feed. It takes 5+ lbs. of feed above 240 lbs of hog to get the 1 lb of gain. Feed little pigs quality feed and then start backing off on the quality as they reach 180 lbs of weight.
     
  16. swollen tongue

    swollen tongue Well-Known Member

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    220-240 lbs. are about right to butcher. 200 lbs. will work but chops are smaller, etc.
     
  17. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    I have to agree with the 220-240 lb limit. We've had great success with our hogs, and have gotten top dollar and top feed-to-meat ratio. But we don't slop our hogs, other than a few fresh eggs and garden scraps for treats. They eat high protein up to about 100 lbs, then sow food till butchering. We don't free-feed them, either. They have set mealtimes. Use their competition for food to your advantage. Ours gain about 10-15 lbs/week this way.

    Our friend started with gilts from the same litter as our first two... he free feeds and slops (with ANYTHING, including leftover chili from a cook-off!). Ours grew twice as fast and produced an all-around better return. Ours were ready in June, and his didn't reach butchering weight until a few weeks ago. He, now, has changed his feeding to mimic ours. We just sold two more yesterday/today that we started in June. So we produced twice what he did in almost the same amount of time.
     
  18. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Depends on if you will use the lard. I have no problem with lardy hogs because we render out all the lard.